The 10 Best Apple Arcade Games in 2023

Well, let’s give this a try, shall we? Apple Arcade was a game changer (heh) for the sorts of folks who read this site, providing a one-stop shop for games without any free-to-play shenanigans for an extremely fair monthly price. The service launched like a rocket, but it has certainly had its ups and downs since. Some amazing games have been added, other amazing games have left, some months are dry as a bone, others are like a typhoon. But one thing has been true from the get-go: there are a heck of a lot of games on there, and it’s hard to know which ones are worth your time. To that end, we’ve put together this list of what we consider the best Apple Arcade games at the time of writing. They’re in no particular order, and we’re not including “+" games but will consider remasters/remakes. With all that said, let’s get to the games.

FANTASIAN, Fantasian isn’t going to be for everyone, but it is certainly a powerful monument to what possibilities Apple Arcade held. A full-on proper RPG from the creator of Final Fantasy, packed with gorgeous sights and challenging battles, Fantasian was so big it had to be delivered in two parts. Composer Nobuo Uematsu did his magic with a very unusual but cool soundtrack, and the presence of a number of Final Fantasy veterans could be felt all throughout the gameplay systems. Handily the best RPG on Apple Arcade, and one of the finest original mobile games in the genre.

Zen Pinball Party, I love playing pinball games on my iPhone, but the catch is that the cost of buying a fleet of tables can add up in a real hurry. Zen Pinball Party is a great solution to that problem. You get the usual Zen Studios quality experience and a roster of more than twenty tables including brand new ones based on popular licenses, classic Williams tables, and well-loved Zen originals. It’s full-featured and a real blast for newcomers and pinball wizards alike.

Ridiculous Fishing EX, Sure, Ridiculous Fishing EX just came out, but I’m more than comfortable putting it on this list. The original Ridiculous Fishing was already one of the best mobile games ever, and this remade and juiced up release just piles more goodies on top. It’s always nice to see games that understand the strengths of a platform and the ways its users like to play on it, and Ridiculous Fishing EX completely gets it as far as mobile is concerned. You’ll probably burn through the main story quickly, but this EX game has plenty more for you to enjoy after that.

Sneaky Sasquatch, Sneaky Sasquatch was a somewhat thin game when it launched, but this is a fine example of just how much a game can grow over time. The developer must be bonkers here, because there has been a constant stream of cool new stuff hitting this game. At its core, this is a game about the titular sasquatch and his daily life. At first he was just sneaking around swiping food, but now he does everything from taxi driving to politics. If you like open-ended life sim style games, give this one a shot. Its scope is positively admirable.

Mini Motorways, As a big fan of Mini Metro, I was extremely excited to see a follow-up arrive in the form of Mini Motorways. Would it be able to maintain the same appeal despite the shift in theme? Could it be different enough to justify its existence? Would it hook me the way its predecessor did? The answer to all of those questions is an emphatic yes. A terrific fast-paced puzzle game that sees you trying to run roads all over the map until everything gets way out of hand, Mini Motorways is tense and fun in all the right ways. It looks and sounds great, too.

Pocket Card Jockey: Ride On!, The people at Game Freak aren’t just about Pokemon, and if you need proof of that then look no further than Pocket Card Jockey: Ride On!, a unique hybrid of solitaire and horse racing. It isn’t something that should work at all, but it’s somehow completely sublime. Pick your horse, train them up, and then play solitaire during the races to push them to victory. Use some special skills at the right moment and you can turn the tides of any race. Cute, clever, and hard to put down, Pocket Card Jockey is a great way to spend a lazy afternoon or wait in a line-up alike.

Horizon Chase 2, Well, it is called Apple Arcade, right? It doesn’t get more arcade than a gorgeous blue-skies racing game, and that’s what you’ll get with the amazing Horizon Chase 2. Featuring tons of tracks, tons of events, lots of cool cars, and an amazing presentation that throws back to the golden age of arcade racing, this game will have you out running your car all day long.

Sayonara Wild Hearts, Some of the best mobile games are the ones that offer up fairly simple mechanics with a strong narrative, and dress it all up in some of the most stylish sights and sounds a screen can deliver. Sayonara Wild Hearts is one of those games. It’s a rhythm game, but between its dazzling visuals, amazing soundtrack, and confident story-telling, it’s quite unlike any game in that genre you’ve likely played. Developer Simogo and publisher Annapurna Interactive individually have an amazing track record on mobile, and this collaboration easily lives up to the reputations of both.

Taiko no Tatsujin Pop Tap Beat, If you want a more standard rhythm game experience, you can’t go wrong with Bandai Namco’s Taiko no Tatsujin Pop Tap Beat. Tap your fingers to the beat of a list of songs that includes everything from the Indiana Jones Theme to the Sesame Street song. It’s always getting new tracks added across a variety of genres, and while there are bound to be a lot of songs you don’t know here, they’re all worth playing. A great version of a genre classic, this has been one of my quiet favorites of the Apple Arcade line-up since the minute it was added.

Grindstone, If there’s a poster child for Apple Arcade originals, Grindstone just might be the best choice. This is a terrific puzzler packed with things to do, the sort that normally cajoles you to buy IAP or watch ads on mobile. Yet here, the game is blissfully free of such things, allowing you to enjoy the pleasures of the matching puzzler genre in a very pure form. It’s enjoyable to play and has charm to burn, making it a perfect fit for those little pockets of time you need to fill.

And that’s the list! It might look different from yours, and that’s okay. I encourage you to comment with some of your favorite Apple Arcade games so that we can all find something new to play. I might swing back around sometime to do a list with the “+" games, because that is increasingly becoming one of the better parts of the service. But that’s a job for another day. For now, I’ll simply leave it at “thanks for reading"!

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